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Thread: What does the choice of ukes say about the chooser?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Salt Lake City, UT

    Default What does the choice of ukes say about the chooser?

    I took stock of my ukulele situation recently and found that I was tending towards ukuleles made in the United States by Magic Fluke, Deering and Blackbird. The outliers are my Pono baritone and the Hadean Uke Bass.

    There is nothing ideological about this, but it may be a taste thing. I've enjoyed getting ukes that have a tech edge to them. I like how my ukes all have some kind of technological trick to make the great.

    For my flea it is how the plastic fingerboard could be cheap and cheesy, but it ensures intonation and great action.

    For my Deering banjo and banjo-uke, it is how Deering makes manufacturing shortcuts work. Their necks are a single piece of wood - no separate fingerboard. This reduces the chance of a neck changing profile over time as the fretboard and neck react differently to changes in weather/moisture and reduces cost. Plus my banjo-uke uses the same maple rim as my banjo - reducing manufacturing cost while making a more complex toned banjo-uke.

    For the Blackbird I love how ekoa makes a "plastic" uke that sounds as good as any solid wood uke I've ever encountered.

    I'm wondering though - does this indicate a coherent musical taste, or just an engineer's love of tech gadgets?
    Blackbird Clara
    Concert Flea
    Pono MB
    Gold Tone Little Gem Banjo Uke
    Gold Tone AC-4 Tenor Banjo
    Gold Tone Microbass

    Buckle Up

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Tampa Bay, FL


    Well, I could be wrong (I often am) but it seems to me that you could answer this question better than anyone.
    Remember, though, it takes guts to look in the mirror and tell the truth about your ukulele choices!
    "Those who bring sunshine and laughter to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves".

    Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday living.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Ma., Ga., Fl.


    Nothing wrong with living on the "cutting edge".............or as the cliché goes: "Whatever gets you through the's alright".

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013


    I dunno if there is a real material answer to this question, and maybe it is more rhetorical or a 'thought experiment'...

    and I would also be cautious about making generalizations or stereotypes, which most of the time are going to be so filled with 'exceptions' that they look more like Swiss Cheese Logic....

    However, for entertainment purposes, it's ALL good.

    and all of the above is just my own humble opinion...feel free to ignore...
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.


    I buy because I'm a gadget freak and also because of a look. One of my firsts ukes was a two hole acacia koa direct from China, which plays and sounds great. My first custom was a gypsy jazz Django Selmer/Maccaferri style because I always loved the look of those guitars, my second custom was a glossy black mandolele, looks like a mandolin but is a uke. I also bought a Kala cedar top because it sounded so good to me. Then not long ago I bought a uke on eBay from the company that made my customs, it had a brown burst color that I had never seen before. And at the moment, I have an eBay bid on an Ovation Applause because my first 6 string acoustic guitar in 1975 was an Ovation Applause, which I traded in a few years ago, and because I still have the 12 string Ovation Applause I bought in 1980. But my defining element is that I only choose tenor cutaway with electronics, either that came with it or I added.
    Last edited by kohanmike; 08-11-2016 at 08:44 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.


    Quote Originally Posted by PTOEguy View Post
    I'm wondering though - does this indicate a coherent musical taste, or just an engineer's love of tech gadgets?
    I think you love innovation, something different, & don't want the normal - & why not!

    Myself - I seem to collect things.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota


    Don't all three of those ukuleles have a good sound? That must be the answer, as otherwise you would have to have another reason to keep them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Oop North in England


    Most of mine are European and that's because, living in the UK, they are accessible. Those that are not made somewhere in Europe have been bought from UK dealers. It's a matter of what's available.

    When I follow threads on UU about various brands, I find most of those mentioned are not readily available over here and it means importing so I go for what's available.
    Geoff Walker

    I have several ukuleles in various sizes and am not planning on getting any more...

    at least, not yet.

    I also play some blowy things and a squeezy thing

    You Tube Channel:

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Sumter County, FL


    My uke acquisitions have all been about experimenting with different sizes, shapes, number of strings, et cetera to find that "sound" which my ears like best. The goal has always been to find that 4F combination (form, fit, function and fun) which makes the instrument one that I grab unconsciously. The instrument price has been kept low for two reasons: 1) the number of times I change stock; and 2) having some tech ability to do my own setups and modifications.

    The "go to" ukes have evolved into two groups: 1) the backyard players which include three - an eight-string, a six-string and a banjo-uke; and 2) the suitcased traveler - a solid "stick." Since I mainly play "Gulf & Western," some classic rock and up-tempo folk, the playing style leans more to guitar/banjo-like picking than "traditional" uke strumming, That probably explains why the six-string and eight-string get more playing time than anything else.

    Ukuleles: Oscar Schmidt OU28T (T8), Lanikai LU-6 (T6), RISA Solid (C), Effin UkeStart (C)
    Banjo-Ukes: Duke 10 (T)*, Lanikai LB6-S (S)*
    Tenor Guitars: Martin TEN515, Blueridge BR-40T
    Tenor Banjo: Deering Goodtime 17-Fret
    Mandolin: Burgess (#7)***

    * CGDA reentrant, ***GDAE, The rest are CGDA

    The inventory is always in some flux, but that's part of the fun.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2012


    I got rid of a perfectly good Martin C1K and got a Kanile'a because I wanted a Hawaiian made instrument. I guess that says...I wanted a Hawaiian made instrument.
    Just Play

    Sopranos: 1st uke, Lanikai soprano LU-11 - Aquilas | 30's Martin style 0 - Martins
    Concerts: Kanile'a K-2 CP - Living Water | Islander AC-4 - Living Water | Waverly Street banjolele - Worth Browns
    Tenor: Martin Iz - Living Water low G
    UBass: Kala FS2 (fretless) - Pahoehoe | Kala Acacia - Pahoehoe

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